Many may be familiar with this activity as it is a tried and tested way to encourage your group to work together in close physical proximity to complete a task. Facilitate this activity to create a discussion about trust, leadership, group cooperation, communication and problem solving – all critical elements of a successful team! We enjoyed getting untangled at Georgia Teen Institute this summer as it also gave our Youth Action Teams the opportunity get to know each other better and to mingle with other teams.
Time Needed: 15-20 minutes
Group Size: 6-10 people per group
Description & Directions: Have each group form a tight circle, standing and facing each other shoulder to shoulder. Each person should then extend one hand into the circle and grasp another person’s hand across the circle. Have them cross their other arm over their extended arm and reach for another person’s hand across the circle. Have them be sure that the two hands they are holding do not belong to the same person.
Now that each group is in a large “knot,” their challenge is to become untangled without anyone letting go of the hands that they are holding onto. Keeping safety in mind, members of the groups can physically climb over, under or through each other’s arms to untie their knot. Each group should end up in a large circle facing in, but on occasion it may work out that two circles form instead of just one because of the way people grabbed hands.
- How did you feel about the close proximity that you were in with the other group members?
- Did anyone lead the group at any time or did everyone work on his/her own?
- Do some groups work better when there is a leader? Why?
- How does leadership or lack thereof impact your group’s ability to communicate effectively?
- What “knots” need to be unraveled in your group to help you be successful?